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Plant Diseases/Sick Butterfly Bush


I have an eight year old Dark Knight Butterfly Bush that has struggled the last couple of years, with droopy leaves and few blooms.  Now this year, leaves are turning yellow and falling off on one side of the plant.  I can find no visible signs of any pests.  We've had a sufficient amount of rain this spring in AR.  Plant sits in a well drained area.  Due to maturity of nearby Maple tree, plant only receives direct sun approximately four to five hours a day.  Other two Butterfly Bushes (different variety) in the same front yard are doing well.  Any thoughts what might be wrong?

Dear Rose, I am pretty certain that what is going on with your butterfly bush is the lack of direct sun.  Butterfly bushes do best in full sun with at least 6 hours of direct sun a day.  This could be making your bush develop a bit of fungus which is making it droop.  You should probably move this plant to a sunnier spot and be sure to fertilize it well - along with all the others.  The other care tip I have is to be sure to cut the plant completely back (to about 6 inches high) in the very early spring before it starts to grow.  Then when the plant starts growing, fertilize it to give it a good start.  I hope this information helps.  Good luck, Melissa

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Melissa Johnston


Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.


35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

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